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Cohen Is Captivating Despite Late Misstep

November 02, 2002|Helene Elliott | Times Staff Writer

QUEBEC CITY, Canada — Sasha Cohen's artistry and balletic grace have hinted at her great potential, but injuries and inconsistency have kept her off the medal stand at the Olympics and world figure skating championships.

If her performance Friday at Skate Canada is an indication, her promise could soon be realized, even though she had to move 3,000 miles from her Laguna Niguel home to accomplish it.

Cohen, who left California and coach John Nicks in September to train with Tatiana Tarasova in Newington, Conn., was mesmerizing during her "Malaguena" short program. But her face was as red as the flower on her dress after she fell on a footwork sequence, a late misstep that didn't stop the crowd of 5,910 at the Colisee Pepsi from giving her a standing ovation.

Nor did it keep the judges from ranking her first in the field of 10 with marks that included two 5.9s (out of 6.0) for presentation. The women's competition ends tonight with the long program, to be followed by the men's final.

"That was really silly," Cohen said of the error in her first competition since she changed coaches. "At the end, I'm tired, and it's a whole new level of footwork for me. It's a challenge I'm still working on."

Tarasova, the renowned Russian coach who helped Alexei Yagudin refine his artistry and win gold at the Salt Lake City Olympics, was pleased. "We only just work a very small period," she said, "but her talent is special."

Fumie Suguri of Japan was second, followed by Viktoria Volchkova, a Russian who trains in Chicago. The other U.S. entry, Jennifer Kirk, was seventh.

Tatiana Totmianina and Maxim Marinin of Russia, skating to jazzy music from "The Cotton Club," were the class of a shaky pairs field. Qing Pang and Jian Tong of China were second, with Anabelle Langlois and Patrice Archetto of Canada third. Tiffany Scott and Philip Dulebohn of the U.S. were fifth, and fellow Americans Kathryn Orscher and Garrett Lucash were seventh, one place ahead of Stephanie Kalesavich and Aaron Parchem.

Elena Grushina and Ruslan Goncharov of Ukraine, also coached by Tarasova, lead the ice dance field after the original dance. Marie-France Dubreuil and Patrice Lauzon of Canada are second, followed by Albena Denkova and Maxim Staviyski of Bulgaria. Melissa Gregory and Denis Petukhov of the U.S. are eighth. The dance competition ends Sunday with the free dance.

Emanuel Sandhu of Canada leads the men's field, with Takeshi Honda of Japan second and Stanick Jeannette of France third.


Tarasova said Yagudin, who spoke of retirement after a hip injury forced him to pull out of Skate America before the long program, was told to rest three to six weeks. He can skate, but he can't jump.

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